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Those tread marks all over the back of the Carolina jerseys today are courtesy of the New Orleans Saints, who ran over the Panthers on Thursday night 28-10 and permanently changed the balance of power in the NFC South in 2014.

Rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin sure showed his lack of experience again Thursday night in New Orleans’ 28-10 whipping of Carolina.

Everyone showed up early Wednesday night – except for the Charlotte Hornets. They finally got there, though, and what an entrance they made. Their 108-106 overtime win against Milwaukee was one of those remarkable “remember when” moments – a thoroughly fitting tribute to the original teal and purple.

Every NFL team’s season has a few pivot points. This is one of them for the Carolina Panthers.

Wednesday, the Charlotte Hornets have their grand reopening. After a decade as the Bobcats, the team has adopted the old nickname in time for a season opener that brings soaring expectations.

The Carolina Panthers have no time to feel sorry for themselves. They play a home game again on Thursday, and it is the most winnable game they have had in awhile.

The Panthers lost 13-9 on Sunday in their latest quixotic battle against Seattle. If that doesn’t remind you of the past two years, you haven’t been paying attention.

Cam Newton said this week he will throw at all-everything Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman Sunday – and he had better.

It is back to the future for the Charlotte Hornets in a lot of ways this season – from the team’s nickname to their uniform to their teal and purple colors. But most importantly, the retro vibe will extend onto the court. Like the Hornets of the 1990s, who were consistently a playoff contender, the 2014-15 version will be a force in the Eastern Conference as well.

This has become an annual ritual in Charlotte – the once-a-year visit from the Seattle Seahawks.

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Scott Fowler is a national award-winning sports columnist for The Charlotte Observer.
CharlotteObserver.com